Real Answers from Real Pilots

Meet me at age 30, third career, an introduction

Hello all, I hope all is well this week.

I’ve been meaning to get active here, and with the day off I figured now was as good a time as any.

A bit about me, I’ve been told my story may interests someone in the future:
I started at KTTN (Trenton, NJ) on September 13 in the 100 hour multi (credit private). I earned my Private Pilot Certificate ASEL in Arizona shortly before coming back to the East Coast. I came with just about 300 hours total time, and that’s the story.

As I’m sure many of us did, I started my passion for aviation young, it’s really some of the first memories I have. That passion drove me to seek an appointment to the United States Naval Academy, where I graduated a Marine Officer with a flight contract in 2013. Shortly after married my wife, who I met there and traveled to Virginia for The Basic School. In early 2014 I moved to Pensacola and started Military flight training. I flew the T-6B Texan II for about 90 hours and was selected to move on to jets. I moved to Texas and and continued training in the T-45C Goshawk for about 210 hours.

While I absolutely loved the flying, and was living my dream, I was concerned about a few things surrounding family commitments, maintenance, and force readiness at the time. And after nearly 2 years of separation from my wife (who had moved to Arizona for the Marines), I decided to put my family first and left the flight program in my last week of training, after having done some very cool things out there.

In 2016 I stopped flying and left the Marine Corps the next year. I had some very strong feelings at the time, and it’s hard to describe the lack of motivation to get flying again. I had an opportunity to complete my Private Pilot Certificate and Instrument rating for about $2,500 (really a steal at the time) but never did.

After leaving the Marine Corps, I moved out to Arizona to be reunited with my wife and started a Career as State Trooper. I worked there until late 2020, rekindling my passion for leadership and instruction until I once again got bit by the aviation bug.

I started looking into what I’d have to do to get certificated and my wife and I decided we had the means and desire for me to again pursue a career in aviation.

At 30 years old, I finished up my private pilot requirements, took my check ride and reaffirmed aviation was in my blood. I left my second career, moved back to the East Coast and enrolled here at ATP. My third son was born on 9/11, just 2 days before I started and I’ve been going through the program with 3 boys 3 and under!

I finished my Commercial AMEL check ride last Tuesday! My Commercial ASEL is scheduled this Friday. I am very much looking forward to CFI school.

My future goals include owning my own piston twin, continuing to develop as an instructor so I can teach my kids to fly, and if I’m lucky eventually becoming a DPE.

I have been fortunate to have a lot of previous experience to lean on going through this program, but it really does feel similar to how the military trains its pilots. I breath a sign of relief every day that I finished all the knowledge tests before starting, and that has really reduced the stress and allow me to focus on the flying and check rides.

I plan on being around here often now, and I’m looking forward to connecting with you all!

See you out there,



Thank you for sharing your insights here. That is certainly not the typical path we see, but is a very interesting one. Good luck with the rest of the program and please keep us in the loop.

PS, I think being a DPE is a great job and a nice way to get paid to fly, while being home every night.


Welcome Clarence! It’s good to have you!

As a new dad myself, I can certainly appreciate the desire to put family first. I look forward to hearing from you more often.